Hundreds mourn loss of popular Westsider Jim Bloom Sr.

       Jim Bloom Sr., 68, one of the best-known people on the Westside, passed away Aug. 31. Jim Bloom Sr.
       His service Sept. 5 at Living Springs Worship Centre drew 740 people by actual count, according to his son, Jim Bloom. Large crowds also were present at other events that day in the man's honor. This included a gathering at the Westside's Fraternal Order of the Eagles (where Bloom had been a member) and the funeral itself at Fairview Cemetery, which featured several vintage vehicles owned by friends - a nod to the elder Bloom's love of fixing old cars - and the casket transported in his 1966 Ford pickup ("Dad wasn't about limousines," Jim Jr. said). And that night at Mill Hill Tavern, a business on South 21st Street he had started in 1983 (and which his son bought back three years ago), "it was packed," the younger Bloom reported.
       The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, which had only been diagnosed five weeks earlier (after about a year of trying to find out why he hadn't felt well, according to Jim Jr.). The senior Bloom rallied enough to attend his 68th birthday party at the tavern Aug. 29, but then slipped back and passed away at home two days later.
       He was born in Spanish Fort, Miss., to the late R.F. and Ethel Bloom. He attended Colorado Springs High School "and was a proud Westside Colorado Springs community member for most of his life," according to his obituary.
       In addition to starting the tavern, he also worked for the city, owned a house-moving business and worked at the former Rogers' Bar in Old Colorado City.
       He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Elizabeth "Betsy" Bloom; his three children, Debbie, Pam and Jim; and seven grandchildren. Bloom is also survived by a brother, Frank, and sisters Sue and Martha. He was preceded in death by his brother, X.O.
       The service included a reading of memories about the man. According to his son Jim, several family members contributed to the document, but grandson Josh Anderson wound up reading it "because he was the only one who thought he could go up there and not break down," Jim Jr. explained.
       The document read by Anderson described the senior Bloom as a lover of many things, including his wife, old cars, ham sandwiches, VO and Coke, people in general ("nobody was a stranger"), supervising any activity, and cruising slowly down the avenue. Instead of trying to remember the names of everyone he knew, he made up nicknames for them. "You know who you are," Anderson said, inciting laughter. Friends and family gather around the grave of Jim Bloom Sr. Sept. 5 in Fairview Cemetery. There was also a big 
crowd that night at Mill Hill Tavern (a business he had originated).
Westside Pioneer photo
       The microphone was also passed around to people in the audience, who (mostly anonymously) spoke joyfully of knowing Bloom. "He was just like a father to me… He could make you have a good time… He gave me and other country musicians a chance to play the music we grew up with [at the tavern]… He was the Westside's John Wayne… Blooms' was like our neighborhood clubhouse…"
       Another mentioned the time he'd made fun of the size of Bloom's head (some reportedly knew him as "Potatohead"), prompting Bloom to playfully tear up his hat. "I didn't care, because I liked Bloom better than the hat."
       Longtime friend Junior Woods said, "If I told you all the stories of what we did, you'd have to come back tomorrow."
       In a separate interview, life-long Westsider Ruth Winter-Wolfe recalled the years when Bloom still owned the tavern (called Bloom's Mill Hill Tavern then). "He would always come up and greet you personally," she said. "It felt kind of like it was home. It was like going to King Soopers, except there was beer."

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